Maura Healey issues new gun guidance, “good reason” provisions no longer enforceable

A recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning a New York law restricting access to concealed carry firearm’s permits is already having an effect in Massachusetts.

“Following the Bruen decision, licensing authorities can no longer enforce the ‘good reason’ provision of the Massachusetts law, which allowed license restrictions or denials if an applicant lacked a sufficiently good reason to fear injury to person or property,” Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said in a release late last week.

On June 23, the high court ruled that a requirement in New York that residents show “proper cause” for a permit to carry a concealed firearm was at odds with the Second Amendment.

In the opinion, the court cited Massachusetts’ law, which gives broad discretion to chiefs of police who act as licensing authorities over who should and should not get a concealed permit, as another which was potentially unconstitutional.

“Only six states and the District of Columbia have ‘may issue’ license laws, under which authorities have discretion to deny concealed carry licenses even when the applicant satisfies statutory criteria, usually because the applicant has not demonstrated cause,” Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.

According to Healey’s office, the ruling means the commonwealth’s similar provision would also likely be found in violation of the Constitution.

“Holding that New York’s ‘proper cause’ requirement violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, licensing authorities should no longer enforce the … ‘good reason’ aspect of the license-to-carry statute,” her office said in a separate statement with Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

That means that those who have been issued a permit to carry with restrictions can be issued permits without restrictions.

A spokesperson for the AG’s office did not say if those currently holding restricted licenses can carry concealed now, but said they should check with their local licensing authority.

Those with Firearms Identification Cards, which weren’t issued with the same “good reason” consideration, but allow the purchase of non-high capacity shotguns, rifles and ammo, will see no changes to their licensing.

Residents must still receive a license to carry, according to Healey’s office, and some people will still be ineligible.

“Certain applicants are simply ineligible to obtain a license to carry a firearm because they fall into a class of prohibited persons which includes, among other disqualifiers, people who are under 21 or who have been convicted of a felony or who are currently subject to a restraining order. If the applicant falls into one of these categories, they will not be issued a license to carry,” her office said.

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